Manpower planning and development in Oman
1. The Sultanate of Oman is the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula with a total population of approximately two million. Young people below the age of 15 account for a large proportion (46 per cent) of the po pulation. According to studies carried out by various organizations, (i.e. World Bank, ECWA), it has been found that a majority of the population live in rural areas. 2. Before 1970, Oman had a great shortfall in most economic and social aspects. The dawn of development started after 1970, following Sultan Qaboos Bin Said's accession to the leadership and the launching of a broad plan to modernize and develop the country. 3. Oil is the main source of its economy. According to the Development Council statistics, the share of oil revenue in 1988 accounted for 79.6 per cent of the total. The oil net revenue was (993.6) million Rials Omani from a total of (1247.6) million Rials Omani. Actual development investment increased from (3341) million Rials Omani during the First Development Plan (1976-1980) to (7872) million Rials Omani during the Second Development Plan (1981-1985). The planned development investment during the Third Development vii plan (1986-1990) is estimated as (8164) million Rials Omani. One important factor to be noticed is the attempt of the government to diversify its strategy so as in the long run to depend on other sources rather than oil. Manufacturing is one of the main concerns of development for the government. Despite the dominance of the modern sector (in terms of contribution to the gross domestic product), Oman still remains a predominantly rural society. Up to 80% of the Omani population is estimated to live in rural areas. 4. The rural labour force has been steadily declining, emigrating to urban areas at a rate of 5000 people (mostly economically active males) annually. At present, Omanis form 30 percent of the total labour force employed in the modern sector; most of them occupy jobs at an unskilled and semi-skilled level. At present more than 200 thousand expatriates are working in the modern sector in Oman, which represents 70 percent of the total labour force in that sector. 5. The size of population and its rate of growth are obviously very important elements in the manpower assessment in the long term of the next 15 to 20 years. It becomes a more critical issue when the labour market patterns are not clearly known and defined. 6. Oman relies on a large number of non-Omani workers, essentially because human resource development (education and training of the population to produce an effective modern workforce) cannot keep pace with viii economic growth demands in terms of skilled manpower requirements. 7. The basic fact which should be considered is that manpower requirements are related proportionally to economic growth. In Oman, with late development, high priority was given to economic growth to build up the infrastructure and have a modern state. Economic planners, the executers of development projects and the contractors wish to see as high a rate of economic growth as possible. Although economic planners may acknowledge that reliance on non-Omani workers may present problems, they are not thought important enough to warrant any limitation of economic growth. Clearly then, the planning of human resources development in the Omani context lags behind general economic planning. 8. To cope with manpower requirements, due to the needs created by economic development, Education and Training plans were drawn up to form a human resource development plan. 9. No educational system existed before the 1970s. Only 3 primary schools were available with 900 students. No education for girls was provided. The present situation of education is the result of rapid development. An education ladder was formed which was based on a 6-3-3 structure. Technical and vocational education and training systems were established. The establishment operation of the university has added a new ix dimension in completing the educational system. In 1984/85, more than 225 thousand students were enrolled in educational institutions. 10. Despite the development of education in recent years, Oman is still not capable of meeting its manpower requirements internally. A large segment of the population is functionally illitrate, including a sizeable population of young males with a strong desire to share in the counry's new economic prosperity. The quality of education has also suffered considerably due to the rapid expansion in education. 11. Due to the great demand for labour and the shortage of Omani labour supply, manpower development has become an important issue. The Council of Education and Vocational Training under the Chairmanship of HM the Sultan Qaboos with 9 members at minister's level was formed in 1978 to set general policies of education and training in the context of manpower development. 12. The present trends in manpower development, whether from the education or training side, do not match with the long term objectives, set by the government, nor have they realized the potential to cope with future requirements. 13. This present study of manpower planning and development in Oman dicusses manpower development in relation to manpower planning. This research will analyse the past and present trends of manpower development and anticipate its effectiveness in the future. The manpower x development concept is discussed in terms of its objectives, manpower requirements and social demand. The discussion will highlight the main problems in the present system of manpower development: in the context of manpower planning in Oman. The system of manpower development is also analysed in terms of its relevance to, and possible conflict with the purpose of manpower development schemes. The present focus of such schemes is closely examined. 14. The main problems related to manpower development lie in:  The role of the technical and vocational education and training system and its performance in operating (a) The Vocational Education system run by the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY). (b) The Vocational Education System run by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MOSAL).  Social pressures from the student population in terms of their expectations on completing their general education versus the government policies 1 in having a sound output of manpower requirement T to fuf ill the country's needs. This create a conflict in the definition of objectives.  Lack of enrolment in vocational and training system due to the lack of vocational guidance, the social attitude towards it, and due to the closed xi pattern existing in technical education and training system, in not providing the student with access to further studies. This also affects manpower development schemes.  The unstable educational output in relation to manpower requirements. 15. The arguments are developed so 4ko propose a new model of manpower development for the future. This model aims to achieve a new target in producing an integration of educational and training concepts in manpower development. 16. In discussing the various hypotheses, and analysing the various concepts in comparis on with other countries, a new manpower development model will be proposed to meet the objectives and to overcome the above stated problems. This model aims to integrate manpower demands and educational and training outputs in relation to individual aspirations and manpower targets.